Lady Toppers notch two vital wins over the weekend

WKU senior midfi elder Allie Auscherman (21) collides with Evansville’s Tatiana Pagan (11) during Sunday’s bout at the WKU Soccer Complex. Nick Wagner/HERALD

John Reecer

Sophomore midfielder Haley Baldridge picked the perfect time to net her first goal of the season this weekend.

That moment came on a golden goal in double overtime of WKU’s match against rival Middle Tennessee on Friday, which propelled the Lady Toppers to a 4-3 victory over the Blue Raiders at the WKU Soccer Complex. The goal marked Baldridge’s first game-winning score.

Not only did the Lady Toppers oust their rival, but they also walked away with a victory against UAB by a score of 1-0 on Sunday — completing a vital 2-0 weekend of play.

The Lady Toppers are now 9-5 on the season and 4-3 in conference play. Going into the weekend, WKU only had six points in conference play, but the Lady Toppers doubled their point total in their two weekend victories, bringing their tally to 12 for the year.

“We were in two must-win games this weekend, and we tried to not tell the team just how much pressure was on them, but we wanted to make sure they knew these games were important,” Head Coach Jason Neidell said. “Being 2-0 this weekend really puts us in the driver’s seat for our own fate for the rest of our season.”  

Sophomore forward Iris Dunn proved to be a force for the Lady Toppers throughout their match against rival MTSU, netting two goals and putting four of her five shots on target. Dunn scored the first goal in the 30th minute after stealing a pass from an MTSU player just outside the box.

In the second half with WKU leading 1-0, the action began to pick up, featuring a 40-second sequence in which three goals (2 from WKU, 1 from MTSU) were scored.

The entire match showcased a wealth of back-and-forth play from both teams. Twenty of the game’s 35 shots were on goal; seven found the back of the net and both goalkeepers combined for 13 saves. However, the Lady Toppers took control of the game in double overtime with a 5-2 shot advantage.

“It’s a rivalry game and rivalry games are great,” Neidell said. “That is going to go down for me in my coaching career as one of the all-time great rivalry games with Middle Tennessee State.”

WKU suffered a hangover of sorts in their next match against UAB as the Lady Blazers dominated the shot attempt category in the first half, 6-1.

However, the one shot for the Lady Toppers proved to be an accurate one as junior forward Lauren Moats scored on a header off a free kick from junior defender Chandler Clark.

 Senior day also took place before the UAB match as lone senior Allie Auscherman was honored.   

“It’s a great feeling to end our last two home games with a win especially for me since it’s my last two home games on this field,” Auscherman said. “It’s really given us a good attitude, and it will give us a good approach to the rest of our games this season.”

The Lady Toppers’ quest for postseason life continues on Friday at 6 p.m. as they take on L.A. Tech in Ruston, Louisiana.